I went from 237 lbs to 157 lbs
from Dec. 15, 2015, to Dec. 15, 2016
Two-hundred-thirty-seven pounds is the highest weight on record for me, and that was taken a long time ago. I’ve been heavier, I’m sure of it and I’ve been lighter, sometimes significantly so, but since I refused to be weighed at ninety-nine percent of my doctor appointments, there’s no record of it except the occasional photograph.
Struggling with my weight is a life-long endeavor. At eighteen months I got my first lesson in holding my stomach in; my diaper fell off. I’ve tried so many diets I can’t even remember them all. I’ve joined gyms, walked enough miles to fill a Fitbit, resized portions, tried hypnosis, therapy, and popped a zillion diet pills/cookies/candies and even expanding packets of some substance that was supposed to fill my stomach and then pass harmless through me. Since I never saw anything pass through me, I can only assume they were absorbed directly (ugg) or are still in there somewhere (oh yuck!).
I’ve lost weight, successfully I might add, many times in my lifetime, losing almost this much weight before, and lesser amounts as well. All told, I’m sure I’ve gained and lost at least five hundred pounds over my lifetime. The yo-yo phenomenon was so cruelly automatic that I’ve completely lost faith in dieting as a permanent solution to obesity.
So, how did I finally do it? Well, if you’re hoping for an easy miracle, get ready to be disappointed.
I had bariatric surgery, a Roux en Y, to be exact.
Bariatric surgery reduces your stomach size and bypasses some of your intestines. This limits the amount you can eat at any one time and guarantees a really nasty sensation when you ingest too much sugar at once.
But perhaps more importantly, the medical group I went through insisted on thorough testing and comprehensive education about not only the procedure itself but also the other physical, psychological, and emotional changes that would take place as my body rapidly shed pounds. It took from October of 2014 until December 2015 while I was probed, tested, analyzed, educated, and had proved my deep conviction with four weeks of a liquid only diet to be approved for the final step, the operation itself.
I was in the operating room for over four hours while they undid my Nissan (a procedure that helped manage my GERD) and then performed the Roux en Y. Thank God I’d already had my gallbladder removed, or that would have taken yet another few hours.
I spent the next month on liquids only, then graduated to three months of blenderized-to-applesauce-consistency solids. I slowly reintroduced vegetables (so well cooked they were limply translucent) and ultra-lean meat back into my diet. Peanut butter became my best friend and the only taste of sweetness (outside of diet applesauce) in my world. I survived a Christmas feast while still on a liquid diet, a candy-less Valentine’s to avoid the dreaded ‘dumping’ syndrome, a quarter cup of Easter dinner, Fourth of July cookouts that consisted of one hotdog, various birthdays with a forkful of cake, and a child-sized plate at Thanksgiving. Twice I left the country, only to severely limit my tastes of foreign cuisine.
The fat melted away so rapidly I missed the chance to wear clothing long hanging in my closet in case I ever fit into them again. Before I knew it, nothing I owned fit me.
My entire life changed. I feel healthier now than I ever have in my life. I learned things about myself and our society I never knew, discovered for myself the differences between the way large and smaller people are treated, and experienced emotions that surprised me. I also suffered a sense of depression and disappointment directly at odds with my success.
But this post has gone on long enough. I’ll share more about my journey another time. For now, let me just say this:
I lost more than weight and gained more than self-esteem.
Check back soon for more about my journey from being morbidly obese to hearing the magic words from my doctor, “You’re no longer overweight.”